Many publications and pundits have had a lot to say about this week’s Thor #1 (myself included), but a great many of them have also indicated that this is the first time EVER that a woman has carried the hammer of Thor in battle…

Those reports are quite mistaken.  Your Major Spoilers (retro) review of What If? #10 awaits!

WhatIf10CoverWHAT IF? #10
Writer: Don Glut
Penciler: Rick Hoberg
Inker: Dave Hunt
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Carol Lay
Editor: Roy Thomas
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: 60 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $15.00

Previously in What If?:  Uatu The Watcher (RIP) dates back to the earliest days of the Marvel Universe, more than FIVE real-time decades ago, but it was some time before we understood the truth about him.  Far from just observing Marvel Earth, his purview was all possible futures, pasts and speculative events that led to the age of Marvels as we know it.  So it was that we learned of a world where Spider-Man actually joined the Fantastic Four early in his career, a world where The Hulk always had the mind of Bruce Banner, and more.  As a being who can perceive everything, Uatu was about 35 years ahead of his time in the summer of ’78…


In this alternate world, Donald Blake brings along his nurse/unrequited love interest Jane Foster (the one played by Queen Amidala) on his fateful trip to Norway back in ‘Journey Into Mystery #83.’  On this world (designate Earth-788, which should also explain how the numeric designations are chosen, if you’re paying attention), as in the mainstream continuity, the Stone Men attack, but it’s JANE rather than Don who discovers the hidden cave of secrets…


Jane finds a strange chunk of wood, just as Blake might have, and tries to use it to dig her way out.  The attempt fails, but in her frustration, she strikes out at the rocks that hem her in, causing a huge burst of energy to engulf her.  When the light-show ends, Jane is Jane no more…


With the power of Asgard flowing through her, Jane has no trouble disposing of the boulders, and returning to her sweetheart, Doctor Blake.  She finds him beset on all sides by Stone Men, and reacts with swift and blinding violence, announcing her new chosen nom de guerre…


Isn’t it nice to see the damsel in distress being a guy once in a while?  Jane is as thrown by her new status quo as anyone might be, but her situation is exacerbated by Silver Age secret identity snafu.  As Thordis, she heard Don say he loved her, but their awkward interactions in person continue.  That bit of dramatic fun is fitting, given the time-frame in which the original adventure took place.  Don Glut (and, I’m sure, editor Roy Thomas, the continuity guru) fill the issue with such touches, as Thordis meets the same enemies, in roughly the same order than Thor himself did in his first stories.  She even comes face-to-face with the nefarious Loki, who is puzzled by a female version of his brother, but not enough to not use the situation to his own advantage…


Jane, it seems, is a bit smarter than her counterpart, and chucks Loki INTO DEEP SPACE with Mjolnir, but the hammer drops him off at the golden city of Asgard.  (Odin’s a crafty one, too.)  Thus made aware that the hammer has returned his son to his true self, Odin summons “him” back home.  It’s a surprising moment for all involved…


Odin roars in disapproval, and realizes that these misfortunes are pretty much all his own fault (which summarizes a great many Thor comics, and not a small chunk of actual Norse mythology) and, thanks to the influence of Loki, angrily banishes the pretender from his realm.


Thordis’ career on Midgard goes much better, however, as she overcomes the likes of Mister Hyde, The Radioactive Man and The Cobra, and even participates in the founding of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (though, given the circumstances of their first meeting and this continuity’s Loki staying in Asgard, that founding had to be at least a little different.)


Henry Pym: Giant Jerk, since 1963!  Jane’s duties as Thordis cause her to drift away from her relationship with Doctor Blake, leaving him time to brood sexily on a beach about the growing chasm between him and his lady-love.  Of course, powers of Thor or no, he’s also still a heroic type.


Don isn’t sure why a goddess would have any interest in him, and Sif is unable to tell him that he is actually Thor in human form, because…  reasons.  But the arrival of Loki throws a wrench in the works, one that brings in Thordis to defeat him.  Though Sif nearly killed the man she has pined over by leading Loki right to him, her obvious affection convinces Jane Foster that she has no chance with Donald Blake, and even assists Blake in saving Sif from wounds engaged in battle with the Laufeyson.  But again, the shrouded spectre of continuity raises its ugly head…


Thordis, Sif and Blake successfully stave off the end of Asgard, fighting the Mangog and awakening Odin from his slumber, at which point the King of Asgard realizes that he is finally in a position to repair what has happened to his errant son…


With the power of Thor stripped from her, Jane hopes for a moment that she can have Don back, but the restored God of Thunder is all about Sif.  Before she can fret for too long, however, Odin himself imbues her with the power to become a REAL goddess, and…



You may not realize this, but Uatu is actually Watcher-speak for “Jerry Springer.”  I also want to point out that Thor is wearing his costume as Thordis did, without the blue tights, in that final panel, a moment that I consider entirely and completely canonical.  I am happy to say that this is one of issues of ‘What If?” where the answer to the titular question isn’t “Everyone dies screaming”, but it’s still a bit dissonant for me to have Jane suddenly Odin’s bride.  Still, you have to love the way they hewed as close as possible to the events of the regular 616 Marvel Thor’s life, and Rick Hoberg’s art is entertainingly reminiscent of the Kirby originals, though there’s still pretty much no excuse for the breast-covers.  All in all, What If? #10 is more than just a curiosity (though it HAS been shooting up in price since the announcement of the new Thor), serving as a celebration of old-school Marvel, of Thor, and of the ways that the What If? concept can be clever, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall, even if she did marry her ex’s dad.

WHAT IF? #10


A cute story with a fun gender-swap, even if the ending is a bit pause-inducing...

User Rating: 3.8 ( 1 votes)

About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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